Smartphone sales will fall in 2023 due to inflation

Global smartphone shipments are expected to decline in 2023 due to the impact of inflation on the economy, according to new forecasts from International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

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IDC’s new forecast announces a 3.2% drop in smartphone shipments for the year, which is worse than the 1.1% decline forecast in February. The total number of smartphone shipments for 2023 is expected to reach 1.17 billion units. For its part, Canalys had estimated that smartphone shipments had slowed by 12% in the first quarter of 2023.

Despite this decline, IDC expects a market rebound in 2024, with an anticipated 6% year-on-year growth. However, consumer demand is recovering slower than expected in all regions, contributing to lower smartphone shipments.

The smartphone market is bad

Nabila Popal, research director at IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, noted that 2023 is a year of caution for the smartphone industry, after a year of excess inventory in 2022. We recall, for example, that Samsung ended up with no less than 50 million smartphones on its hands last year.

Brands are trying to strike a balance between having enough inventory to meet demand for a possible recovery and having excess inventory that could lead to financial losses. Brands that manage to effectively plan their inventory management have the opportunity to gain market share.

The smartphone market is also boosted by the arrival of more and more foldable models. However, the limited market interest in foldable phones coincides with the difficult economic conditions caused by inflation, as these devices are still very expensive for most consumers.

If the expected decline in smartphone shipments in 2023 is a setback for the industry, thehe prospect of a market recovery in 2024 brings some optimism. Remember also that the entire market is not affected in the same way by inflation. High-end smartphones priced at $500 or more saw 4.7% growth in the first 90 days of the year compared to the first quarter of 2022, according to data from Canalys. As usual, it is Apple that monopolizes the podium of the best-selling smartphones.

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